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Fireball in the Night
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
It was mentioned somewhere recently that S.T. Park isn't the destination trailset that, say, Demo or ECDM are. However, it's in close proximity to several of us on this board, so I did some research. Here are the results of a few emails sent this week :

EMAIL #1
Hi Rex. This trail should be on our website on the matrix found on our trails program page. If not, my apologies. It will be very shortly. The matrix of open and closed trails will not change from week to week. The temporary closure trails are listed. These trails will temporarily close for up to 3 days following wet weather.
The seasonal and construction closures will remain in effect until at least May of this year due to sensitive habitat/wildlife or the construction of new trails. Please refer to the website before cycling out. We also have a Trail hotline number you can call - (408) 355-2200, then press 7 and listen for your interested park(s).

In speaking with staff, this specific closure is a seasonal closure (until May) due to impacts to the federally-designated critical habitat of the Bay Checkered Spot Butterfly (Federally-listed species as Threatened) and the Federally-listed plants that are within the habitat along the trail edges of Stiles and Rocky Ridge.

My understanding from staff, is that when these trails are wet (and puddles on the trail exist throughout the winter), users tend to go around the wet areas, therefore taking potentially taking a listed species and habitat by causing tracks to go through the serpentine soil and rocks. I was also told by staff that Boundary Trail is so steep, that it must be closed seasonally for safety reasons and impacts to the trail that lead to erosion.

EMAIL #2
My name is Julie Lee and I am the Senior Park Ranger for the Hellyer/Santa Teresa unit. I would like to clarify our new trail closure policy for you so that you better understand what's going on.

We have initiated a new trail closure policy at Santa Teresa as of last week. This trail closure policy is new to some parks but is intended to bring consitency throughout the Santa Clara County Parks Department as a whole. This policy has been approximately two years in the making. The way it works is, there are three levels of closures - 1) Seasonal, 2) Temporary, and 3) New Construction.

Seasonal closures occur on sensitive trails that are subject to difficult resource management issues such as seeps, springs, sensitive habitat types, steep topography, etc. These closures are longer in duration and apply to all users including hikers, cyclists, and equestrians. These closures will take place at the beginning of the rainfall season after the first significant rain event and last until the end of the rainy season after the trails dry out. The trails at Santa Teresa that are affected by seasonal closures are Stiles, Rocky Ridge, and Boundary trails. Each trail has a sign posted at either end indicating this closure while in effect.

The second type of closure, temporary, occurs throughout the remainder of the park and is based on rainfall and trail conditions. Temporary closures will go into affect after the Park Ranger on duty determines that enough rain has fallen to compromise the ability of the trail tread to withstand damage from use. These closures will generally be shorter in length and will only be in effect while conditions warrant. Those affected by temporary closures include cyclists and equestrians only. Hikers will still be permitted to access these trails during the closures. Signs indicating the temporary closures are located at all major access points into the park and will be changed as needed by the Park Ranger on duty.

Finally, new construction closures relate to construction of an entirely new trail. This does not include when we refurbish or re-grade an already existing trail. New construction closures will be in effect during the first rainy season following the construction of that trail. Again, these closures apply to all users, including hikers. The only trail affected by this at Santa Teresa this year is the newly constructed Norred trail which runs between the Joice Bernal ranch and the Mounted Ranger facility off Heaton Moor. This trail will re-open to the public late this spring.

I realize this is a lot to absorb, but I am really hoping for public buy-in and understand in what we are trying to do. Santa Teresa is a beautiful park with a lot of unique natural resources and sensitive habitats. As stewards of this park, we are tasked with creating a system that works for everyone while still allowing for all of us to enjoy such a beautiful and diverse place. I really appreciate your inquiry and welcome any further comments or questions.

Julie Lee
Senior Park Ranger
Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department
Hellyer, Santa Teresa, Coyote Creek Parkway
 

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Paper or plastic?
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Where did anybody see a puddle on Rocky Ridge in the last week? This really does not make me want to fund the parks one cent more. If all the staff has to do is worry about is a few clumps of weed between boulders on Rocky Ridge, then they're truely overstaffed...
 

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This Freaggin Sux

4 freag'n months for some butterflies i've never seen. i see more deers, rattlers, and turkeys than the butterflies. flowers doesn't grow in the middle of the tracks. they should plan to plant local trees and flowers in the MIDDLE of the park. I'll even volunteer for that.

(((((GRRRRRR))))))
 

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-------My understanding from staff, is that when these trails are wet (and puddles on the trail exist throughout the winter), users tend to go around the wet areas, therefore taking potentially taking a listed species and habitat by causing tracks to go through the serpentine soil and rocks.

Seasonal closures occur on sensitive trails that are subject to difficult resource management issues such as seeps, springs, sensitive habitat types, steep topography, etc. These closures are longer in duration and apply to all users including hikers, cyclists, and equestrians. These closures will take place at the beginning of the rainfall season after the first significant rain event and last until the end of the rainy season after the trails dry out. The trails at Santa Teresa that are affected by seasonal closures are Stiles, Rocky Ridge, and Boundary trails. Each trail has a sign posted at either end indicating this closure while in effect. --------

I agree that the ideal situation would be to close trails as weather/conditions require, not just a blanket closure. At least they aren't singling out cyclists as the cause of trail erosion and only restricting our access. I think that's a step (baby step maybe) in the right direction.

I tend to avoid Santa Teresa during the winter anyways, it gets way too muddy. This winter seems to be an exception though…

Thanks for the update! It's interesting to see the reasoning behind the actions.
 

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pancitpalabok said:
4 freag'n months for some butterflies i've never seen.
There's less of them because they're threatened:rolleyes:

I admit the rules suck, but we have to follow them or risk permanent closures. Maybe if riders were more conscientious and stayed on trails they wouldn't need those rules.

As it now stands, I see most riders go around mud and puddles .... widening trails. On singletrack, most riders ride off of the trail when approaching riders going in the other direction. They should stop and allow one rider to go on the trail... and then proceed on the trail themselves.

I don't know how we can change things. Education helps, but there will always be those that do whatever they please.... then complain when trails get closed.
 

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aka dan51
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With Stiles and RR closed, there is no reason to even go there.

I think the temporary closures should be for everyone, not just bikers and equestrians.
If there is a puddle, horses and bikes are more likely to go through it, while a hiker would most likely never go through it. Damage will result from either route regardless of the user, either widening of the trail, or digging post holes.

Personally, in a small way, I kind of like a little trail damage. Not the widening of a trail though. The damage I prefer usually seems to make the trail a little more technical, which I enjoy. I think Demo is a good example of that. So every year, the trail is just a little different. However, I do understand the need to protect the environment and beetles and butterflies and whatever else can be used to close a trail....er.. I mean needs to be protected.

-Dan
 

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I agree that the rules should apply to all. I think that hikers are allowed because they cause less damage.... not because a single hiker causes less damage than a single bike, but there are more bikes and they cover more ground. Also, most hikers don't hike when it's muddy.

I think the endangerment issues are a bit lame, but I really don't know what they are.
 

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Paper or plastic?
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Blue Shorts said:
I agree that the rules should apply to all. I think that hikers are allowed because they cause less damage.... not because a single hiker causes less damage than a single bike, but there are more bikes and they cover more ground. Also, most hikers don't hike when it's muddy.

I think the endangerment issues are a bit lame, but I really don't know what they are.
It's impossible to bike in ST when it's muddy anyway. Futhermore, the trail closure is completely out of proportion with the stated goals. Last I checked, RR has not widened over the wintertime. So now, we can go to ST only 6 months a year...
 

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Fireball in the Night
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hmmm...

To me, it seems that hikers walking around a puddle is a constant location while two cyclists passing on singletrack is a variable location --- resulting in less-pronounced damage in the periphery of the trail.

I hike and I bike. It's been a longass time since I've been an equestrian, but I still understand the perspective of all three types of trail users. If cyclists and hikers did #1 and #2 on the trails as horses do, we'd have a lot more to defend than just trail erosion.

Maybe I've never paid attn to the butterflies at S.T., or maybe their numbers are dwindling so much due to trail erosion (WTFOMGBBQ?) that I've never seen them. I'm no entomologist, but I have a feeling that butterfly season isn't the season of winter. Sure, it rains in the spring and we see gazillions of butterflies. But, the trail closure just seems premature for 2007. I also have a sense that whatever eats that particular species of butterfly is not dying in their absence. Whatever lizard or bird eats those also eats 100 other insects and is doing just fine, TYVM.
 

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Rex_Skidmore said:
To me, it seems that hikers walking around a puddle is a constant location while two cyclists passing on singletrack is a variable location --- resulting in less-pronounced damage in the periphery of the trail. .
I'm not trying to say that one is better than the other. Hikers aren't in danger of losinng the trails... bikers are. The better we take care of trails, the easier it is for us to support claims.

WHen 2 cyclists pass each other on the trail by going off of the trail, it damages the surrounding. If the traffic is heay enough... the trail will widen over time. This probably doesn't apply as much to RR as it would to real singletrack.
 

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Stiles and RR are closed until May? :madman:

I googled a bit and found this notice about the endangered butterfly species:
http://www.epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2001/April/Day-30/e10333.htm

It doesn't sound like the butterflies would be affected by trail usage or only very minimally affected by widening of trails. Trail widening sucks, but how much does that take from the whole Santa Teresa Hills area?

Closure after rain seemed to have worked in the past.

I'm very disappointed by this, because ST park was the one place where I could ride without taking my bike in a car. The closest parks are half an hour to an hour driving distance (Coe, Skeggs, Demo). I guess I have to pollute in my car...
 

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Someone is in PowerTrip

Someone is got to be in a Power Trip or something.
Is there any trail(quick fix) with the same caliber as ST in the South Bay?

Is there anything we can do to help so they can open faster?

This Freag'n sux big time.
 

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MTB Monkey
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Santa Teresa is also my local ride. I live just a couple blocks away. If the concern is off trail damage, then they have much bigger problems than bikers passing each other on RR. There is a new gravel road up by the girls center, they recently graded one fire road, completely graveled another, and graded and widened the Olone trail from the stop sign halfway up Bernal down to the hairpin. And there is significant damage from wild pigs next to the trails on the east side.

In fact the worst places for going off trail to get around mud in the park are all on fireroads.

Buh.
 

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Paper or plastic?
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The power of whining

I received an e-mail today from Julie Lee, the park supervisor. She decided to change the policy from seasonal closures to temporary closures for all trails.

Here is a quick excerpt:

"Therefore, I implemented a change in the trail closure policy as of Sunday, January 21st. From this point on, all trails will be subject to the temporary closures only. This means that all trails will be closed to bicycle and equestrian use after any significant rainfall event where the ground becomes saturated enough to make a depression in the soil. This will be a judgement call by the on-duty Park Ranger and will be in effect until conditions improve. When trails are closed under the temporary closure, Park Rangers will re-evaluate trail conditions on a daily basis until they can be re-opened. These closures will not effect pedestrian traffic. We will still retain the right to close specific trails (i.e. Stiles, Rocky Ridge, and Boundary) for longer periods of time as conditions warrant. For the most up-to-date trail conditions, we are maintaining a phone hotline system that will be updated daily as conditions change. That phone # is (408) 355-2200, option 7. "

You can contact her at: julie.lee AT prk.sccgov.org
 

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Fireball in the Night
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
UPDATE : Open Now, Check Hotline Daily

Here's the update I received today ( on a Sunday, everyone ) She's working hard to keep everyone happy. If you appreciate this, please send an email telling her so. I feel it is important to do this. We didn't re-open these trails, Mrs. Lee did.

We implemented the new trail closure policy a few weeks ago at Santa Teresa that was about a two-year process in the making. This trail closure policy was intended to better manage the trail system throughout the Santa Clara County Parks Department by limiting the amount of exposure the trails had to tread wear and damage during the rainy
season. When the policy was written, it called for a long-term closure of certain trails at Santa Teresa park that were known to have particularly challenging resource management issues. These trails included Stiles, Rocky Ridge, and Boundary trails. However, when we went forward with the actual implementation of the policy, we found that there was an inherent flaw in the plan. The idea was to limit exposure to trail tread damage to these trails when they were especially wet. However, current conditions did not warrant them to be closed for the entire rainy season as of yet.

Therefore, I implemented a change in the trail closure policy as of Sunday, January 21st. From this point on, all trails will be subject to the temporary closures only. This means that all trails will be closed to bicycle and equestrian use after any significant rainfall event where the ground becomes saturated enough to make a depression in the soil. This will be a judgement call by the on-duty Park Ranger and will be in effect until conditions improve. When trails are closed under the temporary closure, Park Rangers will re-evaluate trail conditions on a daily basis until they can be re-opened. These closures will not affect pedestrian traffic.

We will still retain the right to close specific trails (i.e. Stiles, Rocky Ridge, and Boundary) for longer periods of time as conditions warrant. For the most up-to-date trail conditions, we are maintaining a phone hotline system that will be updated daily as conditions change.

That phone # is (408) 355-2200, option 7, then 4.


Julie Lee
Senior Park Ranger
Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department
 

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Awesome!

This is the best news I've heard in a while. I'm glad the local biking community (aka MTBR peeps) has made the effort of writing emails and sending letters to those who are in charge of our parks. This tells me that the rangers and other staff of the park system LISTEN to our inquires and takes action to fix problems that are present. :thumbsup: We (bikers, hikers, etc...) have a voice and are able to see that the right decisions are made for the best interest of all trail users and the trail conditions as well. I can now ride there again. YOU GUYS ROCK!!!!!:D :cornut:
 

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CHOCOLATE NASTIES Baker
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Email sent....

I say we have a celebratory ride this weekend. I have a friend who has been off the bike for a while now because of our crazy work schedule and would like to go on a ride this weekend and has been asking about "that rocky trail near your house" AKA Rocky Ridge.

If zorg can manage to get "CEO" approval I suggest a 9:30 start time (my friend has a bit of a drive to get down there so too earlier will be a bit difficult.)

Let's show our gratitude the best way we know how, respectfully using the trails that we fight so hard to keep open.

Travis
 
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